Ryo Ishikawa signs with Callaway Golf
The signings have been coming fast and furious since the calendar flipped to 2013, and Callaway has made the latest splash.
Late Wednesday night, Callaway announced the signing of Ryo Ishikawa. The 21-year-old sensation remains overwhelmingly popular in his native Japan and across Asia, and is a fast-rising star in the United States, where he will play a full PGA Tour schedule this year.
Ishikawa, who has won 10 times on the Japan Golf Tour, will play Callaway equipment – including the company's new RAZR Fit Xtreme Driver and the Odyssey putters he has used for nine of his victories, the company said. He also will wear Callaway-branded apparel, caps, gloves and footwear.
Ishikawa played several events on the PGA Tour in 2009, and caught the broader public's interest at the 2010 U.S. Open with his pink attire and low scores. He tied for 20th in the 2011 Masters – about a month after he announced that he would donate his 2011 tour earnings plus an additional 100,000 yen for every birdie he made to the Japan earthquake relief efforts.
In May of 2007, Ishikawa became the youngest golfer to win a Japan Golf Tour event, capturing the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup at 15 years and eight months of age. He turned professional in 2008 and, by the end of that season, became the youngest player to break into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings.
He went on to dominate the 2009 season in Japan with four wins to become the leading money winner and be named the circuit's MVP. Also that year, he became the youngest golfer to ever reach the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
He officially became a member of the PGA Tour last March, and had two top-10s in 18 starts while amassing $727,051 in official earnings. He will make his debut as a Callaway staff professional at the Humana Challenge next week in La Quinta, Calif.